Fried Chicken > Are fried chicken tenders gluten free

Are Fried Chicken Tenders Gluten Free?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, navigating food menus can be tricky. Chicken tenders are a popular appetizer or main dish, but are they safe to eat for those avoiding gluten? Here’s what you need to know about the gluten content in fried chicken tenders.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Are fried chicken tenders gluten free?

Chicken is naturally gluten-free. However, it’s the breading and cooking method that affects the gluten content of chicken tenders. Most breaded and fried chicken tenders contain gluten and are not safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. 

This is because the flour or breadcrumbs used to coat chicken tenders before frying typically contain gluten from grains like wheat. Consuming breaded fried chicken tenders would cause intestinal damage and symptoms in those with gluten intolerance.

However, chicken tenders that are grilled, baked or air-fried without breading are naturally gluten-free. The chicken itself does not contain gluten, so as long as no breading or marinade with gluten ingredients is added, these cooking methods produce gluten-free chicken tenders. 

When dining out, check the menu for gluten-free preparations of chicken tenders that are not breaded or verify that there is a dedicated fryer. At home, use cornmeal, rice flour, or gluten-free breadcrumbs and seasonings to bread chicken before baking for a gluten-free version.

With some modifications, chicken tenders can still be enjoyed on a gluten-free diet. But breaded and fried chicken tenders are not considered gluten-free.

Related post: Are fried chicken tenders bad for you? 

Do fried chicken tenders have gluten?

Yes, most breaded and fried chicken tenders do contain gluten. The breading and flour coating used on fried chicken tenders is typically made from gluten-containing grains like wheat. When the breaded chicken is fried, the gluten remains intact and gets absorbed into the chicken. 

This makes fried breaded chicken tenders unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Consuming them would trigger intestinal damage and cause unpleasant symptoms.

However, fried chicken tenders that are not breaded would not contain gluten. The chicken itself does not naturally contain gluten, so tenders that are simply fried without a breading or flour coating could be eaten on a gluten-free diet. Restaurants may offer non-breaded gluten-free chicken tenders fried in a dedicated fryer. 

At home, you can make gluten-free fried chicken by seasoning chicken strips and frying them in oil without breading. So the method of preparation makes a difference. While fried breaded chicken tenders do contain gluten, fried chicken without breading can be gluten-free. Check labels and menus closely to determine if fried chicken tenders will work for your gluten-free needs.

Breaded Chicken Tenders

Most restaurants bread chicken tenders with flour or breadcrumbs before frying. Since these contain gluten, breaded chicken tenders are not gluten-free. Consuming them would cause issues for those sensitive to gluten.

Some restaurants may offer gluten-free breading, but it’s important to check since gluten can hide in unexpected places. Cross-contamination is also a concern in restaurants that use shared fryers.

Grilled or Baked Chicken Tenders

Opt for grilled or baked chicken tenders flavored with spices or gluten-free marinades. Without the breading, these are a gluten-free choice. Just be sure other ingredients like seasoning mixes don’t contain gluten.

When ordering out, check the menu for gluten-free options. Some restaurants may have designated fryers for gluten-free foods to prevent cross-contact.

Gluten-Free Brands

Major grocery stores now carry gluten-free frozen chicken tenders, nuggets and strips. Some popular brands include Ian’s, Bell & Evans, Perdue and Foster Farms. Always check the label to confirm the product is certified gluten-free.

For the safest option, make baked chicken tenders at home. Slice chicken breasts into strips, coat with egg and gluten-free breadcrumbs or flour, and bake until cooked through. This lets you control the ingredients and avoid cross-contamination.

The Bottom Line

Breaded chicken tenders contain gluten and are not safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Grilled, baked or air-fried tenders without breading are a better gluten-free choice. When in doubt, check with the restaurant or manufacturer to ensure the item is gluten-free. With some modifications, chicken tenders can still be on the menu for a gluten-free diet.

FAQs
Do fried chicken tenders have gluten?

Yes, most breaded and fried chicken tenders contain gluten due to the flour or breadcrumbs used to coat them before frying. The breading introduces gluten, making these fried tenders unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Can celiacs eat breaded chicken?

No, people with celiac disease need to avoid breaded chicken. The breading and flour used on fried chicken contain gluten, which would damage the intestines and cause adverse reactions in those with gluten intolerance. Breaded chicken should be avoided on the gluten-free diet.

Who makes gluten-free chicken fingers?
Some brands that produce gluten-free chicken fingers and tenders include Ian’s, Bell & Evans, Perdue, Foster Farms, and Tyson. Check labels to confirm the items are certified gluten-free and not processed alongside gluten-containing foods.

Are chicken nuggets gluten-free?

Like tenders and fingers, breaded chicken nuggets typically contain gluten. However, some brands make gluten-free chicken nuggets without breading or fried in dedicated fryers. Gluten-free options include Ian’s, Perdue, and Bell & Evans. As always, diligently read ingredient lists and labeling.

The bottom line is that any breaded chicken, including tenders, fingers, and nuggets, will have gluten and should be avoided on a strict gluten-free diet. Going with unbreaded, grilled, or baked chicken products is the safest option for gluten intolerance.

 

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